Russia sets up commission to prevent swine flu outbreak

April 27, 2009 11:23 pm 

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MOSCOW, April 26 — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has set up a government commission to prevent the spread of swine flu in the country, the government's press secretary said on Sunday.

The Russian government is taking preventive measures following an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico that killed dozens of people, Dmitry Peskov said.

Mexican authorities have officially confirmed the death of 20 people from swine flu while another 48 cases need confirmation.

"The commission has started to work and specific measures are under way to prevent the penetration of swine flu into Russia and the possibility of its spread," Peskov said.

Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, earlier said that the outbreak of the swine flu virus in Mexico has the potential of a pandemic.

First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov has been appointed as the head of the government commission for the prevention of swine flu in Russia, Peskov said.

According to the World Health Organization, swine influenza or swine flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease of pigs caused by one of several swine influenza viruses. Pigs can also be infected with avian influenza viruses and human seasonal influenza viruses.

Although swine flu viruses are normally species specific and infect only pigs, they sometimes cross the species barrier to cause disease in humans.

Oleg Kiselyov, director of the flu institute in St. Petersburg, said that humans so far had no immunity to the virus that had struck over a thousand people in Mexico. (PNA/RIA Novosti)

DCT/rsm

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